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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  October 1, 2011 8:15pm-9:00pm EDT

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i'm not -- i'm a deep patriot. i love our country very much too, but have you spoken to it in the book? i only spotted it, about the incredible fire power for our enemies to use our facts of reality because bob gates said we're creating more terrorists than we're killing. >> i focus in my institution today and focus of my book on what we did to ourselves. our falls and assumptions with respect to the laws and how we, whether we jaywalk or pay taxes or accept torture. truly, that's their thing. your point on what we've done to ourselves with respect to foreign societies is important and easier to grasp than mine which is trying to get us to be aware of our assumptions, but certainly it would be, others said before me that the photos
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of what we did and nothing hideous like that happened to my gentleman, and the cia didn't do those things. nonetheless, the effects are disastrous for america's reputation and standing in the world, and one would hope we realize it's not for all of the spectacular qualities of our armed forces, it's not they who win hearts and minds which is the ultimate objective, frankly. i don't want to sound like an officer in the vietnam war, but we undermind ourselves for a decade. in no way a pass vies, and -- pass and i embrace policy, and there's people to impose upon vigorously. >> okay. with that, help me thank glenn
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carle, and glenn's going to be available afterwards. >> thank you. [applause] >> for more, visit >> from the national book festival this week, a meeting with a former fbi agent who discussed the inside story of never and the war against al-qaeda. this is about 30 minutes. >> author of this brand new
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book, the black banners, ali soufan, the story of 9/11 and war against al-qaeda. how is it that you joined the fbi? >> i wasn't one of these guys who always dreamed of being an fbi agent or working with the government, and when somebody in college suggested that and my university suggested that, i thought, you know, that's a silly idea. that's like go and work in the circus or something, but i started because it was a big challenge. a lot of people in college, especially from my fraternity decided to make bets if i can make it through the process of being an fbi agent. i thought that was interesting. by the the time i graduated from graduate school, i finished my graduate work. the fbi offered me a job, and i ended up in virginia.
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>> how many years did you serve? >> i served about eight or nine years. >> and you were born in beirut? >> lebanon, yes. >> how did you get to the united states 1234 >> my family immigrated and so on, and i grew up in pennsylvania. i went to school in pennsylvania. my first real job after graduate school was the fbi stationed in new york. i moved to new york in 1997, and i continued to live in new york throughout my fbi career and after my fbi career i still live in new york. >> how many years did you serve? >> from 1997 until 2005. >> what issues did you work on? >> i focused on terrorism, and i discussed many of the missions that i was involved in, cases that i worked on in the book, and the focus of the great
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majority of my career in the fbi was bin laden and al-qaeda. >> all right. do you speak arabic? >> yes. >> where were you on 1997 >> actually i was in the in the united states. i was investigating the uss cole attack in yemen. we received a phone call from headquarters asking myself and my partner to stay in yemen and follow-up on some leads concerning 9/11. that was on september 12. i was really shocked why do we need to stay in yemen or did we miss anything during or investigation with the uss cole that caused this event to take place in the united states, and later on, later that day i was handed a file, and in that file, i was really surprised to see that information that we have been looking for all over the place with overseas.
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we have teams in different areas overseas trying to find people connected to the uss cole attack. two of the people were actually in the united states, and not only in the united states, they were on flight 77, pentagon. that was a game changer for me. >> who had that information? >> the cia had the information. >> did the fbi and the cia prior to 9/11 work well together? >> yeah, absolutely, at least from my experience, and i talk about it in the book. we work together on al-qaeda, work together on different, you know, foreign counterintelligence stuff. we worked together on terrorism. i discuss in the book a lot of the joint operations that we did, fbi, cia, and other organizations and countries around the world. i thought that the operational relationship, you know, in the
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field, on the front lines was really great at the time. >> what happened to the file? why wasn't the file shared with you prior to 9/11? >> that's an answer that i don't know yet. i'm still looking for that answer. i mean, we heard the 9/11 commission coming up with the theory that people, you know, did not connect the dots. we heard about the chinese war theory between criminal agent and between intelligence agents supposedly at that time, but now if you look at what the cia inspector general report regarding 9/11 mentioned, it's said that if the cia had information on timely basis to the fbi and to the state department, immigration, and other services, and at least it they put the two hijackers, the two specific individuals, on a no-fly list, 9/11 could have
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been probably stopped, and the same conclusion came by the 9/11 commission. the 9/11 commission report in one of their findings they said that if the central intelligence agency passed this information that i'm telling you about to the fbi team investigating the uss cole attack and limited to the team its investigating the attacks, is lot of things could have happened early on that maybe would have changed the event that took place on tuesday, september 11, 2001, that caused thousands of people to perrish. >> your book likes like this, why is that? >> there's a portion of the book, 2% of the total book i think, unfortunately, has been redacted. the book runs through publication review, and after about three months of this
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process, the fbi approved the book with not one sing single redacs in it. i found out the book is going through another full-blown prepublication review, something i still don't know why because i was not an employee of the cia nor have any contract agreement with them; however, after the book went through the peer publication review, that's what we have. we have redacss. those redactions do not hamper the book. the readers still get the point, and today i heard it's number three on the new york times list. that's absolutely, you can understand the book with that, and obviously it didn't work. people are buying the book anyway. >> you put this note in the front of the book dated august
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23rd, 2011, when you published it. what is this note? >> this note temperaturing the reader about what i experienced in the prepublication review process, and how the book was approved by the fbi, and unfortunately was not fully approved by the cia for publication, and i just, i thought i need to respect the reader in explaning all the things to them. >> you say in the note much of the information that was redogged is -- redacted is public information already. >> absolutely. readers can make their mind. there's a section where i talk to senator grahm, and this was taken from the, and you can easily google my name and senate hearing, and you will find the videotape on youtube, and that, portions of that exchange between me and senator grahm has been
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redacted. portions of the 9/11 commission was redacted. classified -- declassified documents have been redacted. my statements to the senate that was approved in advance by the fbi, and that was broadcasted on public television has been redacted. you know, to the most part, the it's not information that's publicly available, but it's information that's declassified and authorized to be publicly available by the united states government. >> do they explain why they redacted this information? >> we're still in the process of the negotiating and trying to understand why. >> now, one time you testified in front of the senate in 2009. >> yes, sir. >> you were behind a screen. we have a shot of that to show the viewers now. was that your choice, the senate's choice. >> it was mostly both.
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you know, i did a lot of work in my career in the fbi. i did undercover work, and at that time, we thought for the security reason, it's better not to show my face. >> ali soufan is our guest, "black banners" is the book. phone numbers are on the screen as is the twitter and e-mail addresses. first call up for former fbi agent comes from troy, alabama. >> caller: thank you, sir. i'm looking forward to reading your book, but i'll wait until the paper back comes out so there's less lines in it. i'd like toe ask this question, sir. what did you find anywhere in your research, anywhere, a justification for going to war
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in iran or rather iraq? >> no, actually, and i talk about this in the book. believe me, you can get a lot of facts about what happened in the war against al-qaeda, with enhanced interrogation techniques, 9/11, the iraq war, in this book even with the redact. there's a lot of pressure on us to come with evidence linking saddam hussein and al-qaeda to each other and linking them to a wmd program. the fbi couldn't give the evidence because it didn't exist. the evidence came later from al-qaeda associate, another individual who associated himself with organizations, namely after torture, he basically admitted to the fact that al-qaeda and saddam are working together.
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after iraq and after we found out he was lying, he came back to him and ask him why he provided that? that's why it ended up in the security counsel where secretary tom poir mentioned it in the speech. he said basically you're torturing me, and i gave you what you need to hear. i discuss these things in details in the book, and all of this stuff has been declassified by the united states government. the story and link to the iraq war, the false ling to the iraq war has been declassified by the senate armed services committee, for example. >> poland, maine. good afternoon. >> caller: good afternoon. i look forward to reading the book. can you please discuss, if you know anything about it, the fbi agents in minneapolis who were
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trying to -- [inaudible] >> i'm sorry? >> caller: the agent in washington who dismissed warnings about masali. >> sure. this thing came up in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. ..awi he said he wants to know how to the part but not how to land. he did not want to learn how to land. immediately he was arrested on immigration charges. later on, there was some allegation regarding his laptop and the fbi did not look at his laptop on of timely basis. there is a lot of concern regarding this. even if they looked before 9/11
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into his laptop there's no evidence on the laptop that could have stopped 9/11. he was part of a different cell not connected to the one that carried out the 9/11 attack and we have a lot of evidence that shows the leadership of al qaeda did not even want him to know about the other operatives in the united states who were planning the attacks on 9/11. >> host: what was your interaction with abu zabaida? >> guest: i was the first american to be there at the undisclosed location. the relationship, the interrogation was good from the beginning. the first question i asked was what is your name? gillick that me and gave me a
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false name. looked me in the eye and gave me a fake name. whatever i call you honey? he was shocked. he had that look on his face like my game is up. sunni was the name his mother nicknamed him as a child. he figured out of this guy knows what my mommy knows now everything about me. and started providing us -- we were shocked about actionable intelligence. the information he provided to us early on in the first hour of our interrogation how to save his life because when we send the information to washington people in washington realized this individual has a lot of valuable intelligence that can save lives. that is why they send the doctor from here to oversee the
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treatment. >> host: did you ever use enhanced interrogation techniques? >> guest: i discuss a lot of that in my statement to the senate and in the book. i discuss a lot of examples how regular interrogation helps save lives. i talk about bin laden's personal driver and propaganda secretary who we had no idea who we was. the senate considered his interview one of the best interrogation in the war on terrorism and how we got the information we got that was essential for the war planning in afghanistan. i discuss a lot of these things but as far as interrogation techniques i agree with the inspector general report. i agree from firsthand
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experience that we cannot verify one single plot has been disrupted. that is not me saying that the cia chief. >> host: any response to former vice president dick cheney's new book in my time, talking about how he would use the same techniques? >> with all respect to vice president cheney, he is a public servant who did lot of things over his years but he wasn't there. i was there. we got colleen sheikh mohammad as the mastermind but identified him as the mastermind of 9/11 in april of 2002. water boarding did not start until august of 2002. he was in custody in may of 2002. water boarding did not start until august of 2002. we can go through these alleged claims of the success of
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enhanced interrogation that i discuss in detail. the timeline doesn't make sense. there are a lot of politicians who are part of this program or invested a lot in the program and people who agree strongly about the program and believe -- we know from the stephen bradbury memo from the office of legal counsel, these declassified documents happened recently because the memos in the office of professional responsibility or review of it we know they went back to him and they said the efficacy document about water boarding says he was arrested in 2003. it can justify the time line. but he was arrested in 2002. why not check your facts? he said my daughter is not to check facts but to believe what i am being briefed. a lot of other people in washington believe what they
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were briefed and that created the myth about the alleged efficacy of water boarding. >> host: california at the dismal you are on booktv with ali soufan. >> caller: you said you participated in the uss cole investigation in yemen. i understand there was quite a fishing contest between john o'neill leader still head of the investigation and the ambassador to that country. given the fact that you might talk about that, given the fact that distressing your investigation, do you think in retrospect you got enough actionable intelligence on principle in the planning for the planes plot, the fbi might
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have been able to break that case before it occurred? >> guest: you ask a very good question but i have to separate it into a different issue is this the first issue is the john o'neill -- the u.s. ambassador to yemen at the time and the issue of intelligence that could have stopped the attack. we got all the information we could get from yemen. one of the people who participated in the uss cole attack admitted he delivered $36,000 to southeast asia to operatives over there. that information went to the other intelligence agencies and we ask if anyone knew anything about it. we sent requests about information in november of 2002 -- november of 2001, june of 2002 and so forth.
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unfortunately we did not get back any answers until sept. 12, 2001 and was too late. as for the relationship with john o'neill it hindered the investigation a little bit. but i don't make the claim it could have prevented the attack on 9/11 or provide additional information from that country that could have stopped the attack. the information that could have stopped the attack was in the united states. wasn't in yemen. >> host: who was john o'neill and what was your relationship with him? >> guest: he was a legend. he was really high up in the fbi. when i met him he was a special agent in charge of national security handling terrorism and counterintelligence for the new york office, biggest fbi office
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in the nation. john was an interesting character. he is still considered a legend. you could make movies on him. very hard worker day and night. his life was connected to the fbi. i was so lucky that john saw something in the early on and took me under his wing. i learned a lot from him. one first things i learned from him that there is big danger from a person named osama bin laden and al qaeda and eventually they will hit at home. unfortunately john live the tragic life. he retired week before the world trade center attack. no one was listening to him about the dangers of al qaeda
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and he took a job as head of security for the world trade center. he died on he died on september >> host: "the black banners: the inside story of 9/11 and the war against al-qaeda". atlanta, you're on with ali soufan. >> caller: i value your opinions very much. i would like you to weigh in, the book you just put out. i know you always come up with pragmatic things. what would actually happen if president obama won the election by 50% of the vote and john mccain won by 46,000 -- 46% of the vote. what if the ones that voted for john mccain did the same thing
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they're doing in libya to rebel against the government? would president obama and the united states military have to shut these riots down? gadhafi called them terrorists. these uprisings, they would not just overthrow the government but what would happen if this happened in the united states? people have been killed for protests. >> guest: thankfully we are living in the united states and we have a constitution. we have democracy. we have separation of powers. we have a peaceful transformation of government. we are not living in a place like libya. we have the freedom to demonstrate freely. we are blessed that we are
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living in the greatest country in the world. >> host: what are the black banners? >> guest: the black banners. i wanted to name the book the black banners because it shows what we know about al qaeda or how little we know about al qaeda. the black banners is from the prophet of islam, the prophet mohammad. the accuracy is still out there but there's an alleged had read that at the end of time the black banners will be victorious and won't be defeated. osama bin laden when he issued the 1996 declaration of jihad against the united states signed it from afghanistan, the region that allegedly the profit spoke about is a region in central asia between afghanistan and pakistan and a little bit of
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iran and so forth. al qaeda believes or bin laden believed al qaeda and the islamic mujahedin are the black banners which is interesting because it shows there's a counterculture not from mainstream islam but on the fringes of islamic extremism that al qaeda created for itself and try to sell themselves that the final battle between good and evil is between al qaeda. >> host: that ends in jerusalem. one of your interrogation quoted that. >> guest: many of them mentioned the black banners. many mentioned the end of time epic battle that was going to happen between islam and the
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enemies of islam. many al qaeda members believe they are part of that epic battle. is a cult more than anything else. >> host: west virginia, ali soufan is the guest. >> caller: please comment on your views and the fbi's views regarding -- if there were any adverse effects on the intelligence community. >> host: i couldn't quite understand that. >> caller: could you please comment on the outing of valerie plane and did that have any adverse effects on the fbi community? >> guest: absolutely. she was an example of a
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professional hard-working intelligence officer who got stuck with -- in the middle of the political game of washington. unfortunately they burned her as an individual because of politics. every person in the cia and the fbi or any other intelligence agency thinks very deeply about this. shows how politics and national security became inseparable and that is a dangerous move. >> host: are there enough arab americans in the fbi and the cia? >> guest: we need more not only out of america but also pakistani americans. afghan americans. iranian americans. muslim americans in general. the muslims are different culture. the culture in pakistan is different from the culture in
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iran and the arab culture. there's not one arab people but arab peoples. the culture is different from north africa and the arabian peninsula. not only the language but we need to understand the cultural context of what is happening. today al qaeda is a different organization than it used to be on september 11th. i talk about how the organization evolve prior to september 11th from the 80s to the soviet jihad. until the first gulf war when bin laden moved to sudan it was a different organization that bin laden and al qaeda moved and created a different structure of al qaeda network. today al qaeda is different after 9/11. is not the chief operator anymore. it is more the chief motivator.
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you have many networks working around the world. you have al qaeda mostly in algeria -- that region. we have started seeing connections between them and nigeria. we have al qaeda in iraq working on the sectarian divide between sunni and shiite to get funding to make itself relevant. you have al qaeda in the arabian peninsula which is very different than both other kinds working on the tribal divisions. the saudi and yemeni wins. we have the relationship being established between certain entities and we saw a terrorist attacks away from somalia and you gone the supported by the al qaeda network so in order to
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fight these threats you need to understand the cultural context and political environment and the geopolitical context for how this al qaeda in that specific region operates. to do that it is good to have people who know the language and culture and so forth. the greatest thing about america is a melting pot. we have people who are willing and anxious to serve their country. >> host: why did you leave the fbi? >> guest: as you see from the book, i did a lot during my career. you can lead or be led or get out of the way. i thought it was better to get out of the way. >> host: the book is the black banners:the inside story of 9/11 and the war against al qaeda.
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ali soufan, former fbi >> with the deepwater horizon exploded on april 20, 201,050 miles off the coast of louisiana i was in houston with a group of oil activists who were actually -- activists is the wrong word. a group of people who live in oil impacted communities around the world, nigeria angola kazakhstan alaska, california, texas, mississippi who had all come together in houston for chevron's annual shareholder meeting and they came to explain to the shareholders what it means to live in a chevron impacted community, please were chevron up rates. and why we were there, it had been a couple of weeks during
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the course of our time there after the explosion happened, after the loss of life of 11 men come after the oil started flowing when we realized that this not only was and enormous loss of life, not only was it an enormous disaster but a really crushing reality to people like myself who had spent a significant amount of time studying the oil industries and spend a significant amount of time being in places where oil operations take place. something dawned on all of us. the oil industry had asked -- absolutely no idea whatsoever what to do about it deepwater blowout, none at all. they had said they knew what to do. they have said they planned to know what to do. the reality was that what they knew how to do is somewhat with a blowout at four.feed and for most of the time since really the 1970s most deepwater
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drilling men's drilling and 400 feet below the ocean surface. this well and what deepwater drilling means now is drilling at 5000 feet below the ocean surface and that is just the oceans here. the ocean floor here is 5000 feet below. this well was another 13,500 feet below that. it isn't any more. a well is slightly further out, another well that is as far down as mount everest is up and what we found out with even though they guarantee to us that they knew what they were doing, they were trying to apply technology developed in the 1970s for a 400-foot well to a 5000-foot well, and they didn't know what they were doing and they weren't able to stop the gusher. and not only that, that they had guaranteed us that where there
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could be a blowout, and everybody knows there can be a blowout because that is what the plan for, the gulf of mexico is one of the most difficult places to drill in the world. one of the reasons why, it is very gaseous. there's a lot of gas there. it bubbles up. it makes drilling very typical than everyone knows this and every plan written for drilling in the gulf says we can handle kicks, handle blowouts. blowouts have been increasing in the gulf, happening more and more frequently. the people on the rig nail that this rig was having a different time -- difficult time. in fact this was the second rate to try to drill this well. a previous rig, the marianas had been kicked so hard that it was kicked kick-start kicked right out of the well and had to go home. the deepwater horizon was a replacement. the deepwater horizon was a $100 million over budget. it was many many many days off schedule and the people on the rig knew that they were in trouble and they knew there could be a blowout. the industry had promised that
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it could handle and oil spill were the worst that happens of 300,000 barrels of oil per day. what we found out is that likely at its worst, this spill was 80,000 barrels a day and yet they had no capacity whatsoever to deal with it. they did not have ships ready to contain the oil. they did not have underwater vehicles ready to address the blowout. they didn't have boon to protect the sure. they didn't have skimmers to skim it up. not only that even though after the 1989 valdez disaster they had been committed to responsible for legally obligated to invest in research on what to do if they had an oil spill and prepare for it. they hadn't, none of them. we are using the exact same technology that utterly failed to clean up after valdez that only 14% of the oil was cleaned
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up. today in response to this. now to put this into scale what happened because they didn't know what to do in a spent three months walking around, well, that's not fair. they were trying very hard. they sat around it table and they were trying very very hard. there were engineers very hard at work or could they want to stop this gusher but they couldn't for three long months. and what happened in the course of that three long bugs, that is just a time in which the gusher was flowing, right? they finally did figure out how to put a cap on a thank goodness but they actually didn't know and actually felt secure that well was closed until five months later when something else happen and that was the drilling of the relief well because what the oil industry does know how to do very well is drilled. but what that means is that basically what they know how to
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do is drill so if we have another blowout there is no reason to assume that a cap will be able to be applied because the only thing we are sure that works is the relief well. so that means if there is another blowout what should anticipate is five more months worth of oil and what we know about the deepwater and remember this is new. there are only 148 operations in the world. it basically has been going on for 20 years at this depth and they are pushing out this far because there is a lot of oil out there. what we know about the deepwater is that when you have an accident it is a long way to go to get to it and there is a lot of oil and to put the amount of oil into context we have all been hampered from being able to explain and really grasp, to put into words the significance of the size of this spill and that is because we can't say the words that will make it that march more dramatic which is the largest oil spill in world history. there was only one reason why we can't say that and that is because saddam hussein intentionally in the most blatant way possible use oil as
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a weapon in 1991 and intentionally opened up oil pipes and tankers to attack american and british troops with oil in kuwait. and that is hands-down the largest oil spill and worse history because he did it intentionally. had that not happen, this would be hands down the largest oil spill in world history, 210 million gallons of oil released. one thing we know for sure and when i started, when this happened and we learned it was going to be bigger than we thought and that the 11 men who died, the story wasn't going to end with them and it wasn't going to end with their families. it is going to spread and was going to spread to all of the people across the five states who lived around the ninth largest body of water and it in it was going to affect the sea life and it was going to affect everything that lives in the ocean but the thing to know about it is everything that lives in the ocean is part and parcel to everything that lives on a land. it is part and parcel to all the
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people and their livelihoods and their being an understanding of their community. and the effect on the sea is the effect on the people in the livelihoods of the communities of those people. and what i learned in going down and just in the first couple of days that i was there was one this was a huge story. two, transparency was so difficult. getting information was so difficult at and the first time i went down private security guard, police officers, sheriffs were keeping us off the beaches. you couldn't go look. you couldn't take pictures. you couldn't record the events on one of the things that happened was controlling the story became very important according to everyone involved in one tool that dp utilize that was very powerful, if you saw the pictures i hope you saw from the beginning that john was showing. greenpeace took such important photographs of this event, not just the work the green feasted
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at the photographic capture it and they are throughout my book to try and make tangible or and imagery, the story. but capturing those photographs became more and more typical than one reason why was because you remember the valdez, it was the photographs of the oil spill birds that really captured people's souls. people organize aggressively in the response to valdez. they shut down exxon stations. they protested and they demanded policy and they got out of the bush administration, the bush senior administration come a critical piece of legislation, the oil pollution act. similarly in 1969 off the coast of santa barbara when an oil well blue, people organize. they were galvanized, they were ready. they saw imagery that captured their hearts and souls and years later they got the clean water act, they got the clean air act, they got the environmental
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protection agency and 11 long years organizing later they got a moratorium on offshore drilling in some states. what happened here was that those photographs, particularly of the brown pelican soaked in oil, the state bird of louisiana, capture people, captured our hearts and our minds but those picture started to go away and i think what most people assume that the pictures were going away because oiled birds were going away, right? less birds, less images. that is not what happened. in fact is the number of oiled birds was increasing the photographs were decreasing and the reason why was because we started being threatened to be thrown in jail if we went within 40 miles -- 40 feet of bone. effluin on the beaches where there was oil. is trying to go out on boats to take teachers and to talk to people, to go out into the water in your boom, and when that person driving the boat found t


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